Let's Talk About Music
It's hard to imagine a time without the LP now. It's not just that the format is 75 years old, but that it is so damn durable. Even if the LP went through another fallow period like it did in the 1990s and early 2000s, it's still likely to rise, phoenix-like, once again.
There's good reason for this, and it's a stealth example buried in this very issue. To illustrate our long history with record players – which goes back to the very first issue – we needed to trawl our archive of text, layouts and photos. Except we couldn't.
First, some of that archive had been stored on SyQuest drives that are long since dead. Even if we could access the drives, the machines are beyond repair, use a connection long out of favour with computer companies and replacements are impossible to find.
Then our archive of CD-ROMs from the turn of the century... almost none of them are still readable today. That's not a problem with products still in production, but legacy products from long-gone brands... those images are consigned to history.
Those files that made it through the SyQuest and crumbly CD-ROM archive then fell at the software stage. Back in the early 2000s, the design program of choice was QuarkXPress. Trying to convert those files to work with today's Adobe InDesign is incredibly difficult. They could have been written in cuneiform on stone tablets, by today's standards.
Practically every medium from our turn-of-the-century archive was functionally dead to us, except one... paper. Our file copies of the magazine are still intact and readable, even if the corners are a little wobbly.
It's the same with every medium, to the point where some fear we are creating a new Dark Ages for historians of the future. And in music replay, it's getting harder to find new CD players. This year saw LP sales eclipse those of CD, and the gaming industry is moving to streaming, in place of CD-ROMs.
Where anyone with good basic engineering skills and the right tools can make a turntable from first principles, CD requires sophisticated and specialized laser-eye mechanisms and if those mechanisms don't get made any more, CD's fate may be sealed.
Congratulations: We are pleased to announce that Lucian Mardare, from Bucharest, Romania won a pair of the excellent £769 Meze 190 PRO open-backed headphones and Mac Finney from the US has won the excellent Synergistic Research Black Box resonator worth £2,000. Well done to both winners!
Errata: hi-fi+ published a review of the excellent Wilson Audio Alexx V floorstanding loudspeakers in Issue 218. However, we inadvertently printed the incorrect price. The current price is £161,000 per pair. Our apologies for any confusion caused.